Slovenska ulica 43
9000 Murska Sobota
+386 (0) 2 521 42 00


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Kroki for Belmur

This historically stylish and landmarked one-storey bourgeois house on Slovenska ulica 43, formerly known as Glavna ulica, which was built in the late 19th century and is today an example of a properly revitalised building, has been holistically repurposed into an urban hotel by its owner. He named the hotel Belmur.


For more than half a century after its construction, this historic building was home to a pharmacy, which was run by the Bölcs family. Of course, the family used this opportunity to set up a bourgeois home right next to the beautifully furnished pharmacy. After World War II, the new government took their home away from them, nationalised the building, and discontinued all pharmaceutical business. The bourgeois pharmacy milieu was gradually deconstructed into a ‘depository‘ of chemicals, paints, etc., while other areas became devoted to different interests and practices. The stylish and chic equipment of the Murska Sobota town pharmacy slowly but surely found its way to the landfills, and the once noble and indispensable local tradition faded into the world of distant memories.


At the turn of the third millennium, many years after this country had won its independence, the company that occupied the ground floor of the former Bölcs pharmacy was ultimately sold and shut down. In changed socio-economic circumstances, youthful entrepreneurship finally received the opportunity to leave its mark and, in our case, took on the form of a travel agency, namely a subsidiary of the Kompas travel agency. In the next decade and a half, this idea developed into something more, which was never a coincidence, rather a result of experience in the field of tourism and the business acumen to identify the need for a small, carefully designed urban hotel.


With a little bit of luck and surrounded by a circle of intellectuals and successful entrepreneurs, the new and current hotel owner was able to slowly realise his vision. Situated in the very urban core of Murska Sobota, the prominent, representative image of the building at the intersection of the main street and two other city streets, the relatively spacious courtyard, and in particular the historical and monumental character of its architecture with its immanent, highly valuable advantages and qualities thus demanded a thoughtful and functionally optimal project of conceiving an urban hotel.


The functional characteristics of the building itself were far from sufficient to meet the high standards of hotel accommodation without defining new solutions completely from scratch. What seemed like advantages quickly became countless limitations. Given the historical importance of the architecture, the height of the building and a façade marked by an entire array of design features, both designers and actual constructors were forced to respect conservation requirements to the best of their abilities.


On the other hand, the layout and volume of the building interior required that the architect develops an incredibly imaginative approach and takes innovative design and communication measures to adequately tackle this challenge. It was therefore an excellent idea on his behalf to use the exceptional spaciousness of the attic as the designated place for the majority of the hotel rooms. Some of the previous floor arrangement, such as the brick-vaulted basement, had already been beautifully converted into a wine cellar by the hotel owner. The ground floor also largely maintains the imparted air of spaciousness, while the functional transition into its new role was seamless. The central, historical staircase leads to the upper floor, which remains representative of days gone by with its room sizes and the dutiful preservation of the joinery.


The authenticity of the building, which is certainly bestowed on it by the old staircase with a masterfully forged railing, has achieved a unique functionally demonstrative and spatial harmony with the inventive solution of the attached stairs, which enable access to the second, newly built floor, where most rooms are located. The symbiosis of the old and the new staircase with a series of design and technical solutions by a master of his craft, who worked unpretentiously, but with lucid solutions, are an obvious masterpiece in the interior of the Belmur hotel.


This symbiosis of old and new is evident in each of the hotel rooms and in the lobby. Be it the use of old beams in ceilings, details in equipment or an inconspicuous selection of historical visual references. High artisanship of handmade furniture also seems perfectly minimalist. It is therefore no coincidence that the art in the rooms is also very imaginative. If the lobby and the rooms depict selected works of extraordinary artists from Prekmurje, the upper hotel floor achieves the effect of stylistic harmony with black and white art photographs by the author of the otherwise beautifully written traditional Prekmurje cookbook, which also inspires the hotel’s breakfast menu.


Everything blends well into Belmur. Very well, even. The touch of everything that ever graced this place is surely felt. It feels as if here, in everything and in everyone, we have something that has not yet been completely lost, something that was already part of our ancestors’ lives and is also part of our lives, and something that likes to hide every now and then, only to reemerge, blossom and live again. We love to be a part of it.


Dr. Janez Balažic

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